Public relations (PR) is the art of distributing information between a key individual or organisation, and a targeted audience through online, digital and media forums.
Effective PR and marketing is often what separates rapidly growing companies from slow-growing companies that started at the same time, serve the same market and offer similar services.
Companies succeed in highly competitive markets because, while they certainly produce competitive products or services, they also out-market their rivals. In fact, you're likely to grow to the extent that you master PR and marketing, and no more.
As we’re coming across more and more one-man-band companies who have great ideas, products and services, but don’t have the budget to work with an agency, we’ve pulled together a beginner’s guide to dealing with your own PR and getting your company the attention it deserves.
What is a PR campaign?
A PR campaign is a series of touches with your market to communicate a key message. The key word is “series” since it takes multiple regular touches through a variety of mediums for your audience to recognise your message and brand before they begin to engage and then respond with a booking, enquiry or purchase.
For example, if a restaurant wanted to publicise a new 2-4-1 deal, they’d create a targeted online audience on their social channels by following their key demographics, create a teasing/build up campaign to drum up interest, previewing sneak peeks of what’s to come, before officially releasing their new deal.
Once the deal is public knowledge, a press release could be sent out to relevant publishers e.g. food magazines and local papers, that could be pushed one or more times with different hooks, and they could even go as far as advertising space on local papers/bus stops.
The approach you take will depend entirely on the nature of your business – this is just a helpful guide of what you could do.
Understand your goals
Before commencing a public relations campaign, you should ensure that you fully understand your business goals and aspirations for PR.
There are a lot of different goals you could have for a campaign – to sell a product, to create brand awareness, to attract a new audience. Have a think about exactly what you want to achieve and what message you want your audience to receive.
Take the time to create a set of key messages which will be consistently communicated throughout every aspect of your press campaign. This in hand will help you create your brand identity – the way you wish your business to be viewed.
Do your research
Press campaigns are carefully researched, well thought-out and focused on details and execution. When you’re planning your PR campaign, start with understanding your position in the marketplace – are you big enough to run against your largest competitors, or will you have to really utilise your USP to gain the traction you want with smaller audiences?
What are your business objectives and budget? If you’re planning different campaigns to tackle your varying business objectives, put a budget beside each campaign so you know exactly how much you’re willing, and able, to spend. Don’t fall into the trap of getting over-excited, spending a lot of time planning a huge campaign, only to realise you don’t have the budget.
Research is vital – it’s the key money and time saver you have at your disposal, so make sure you have a clear, concise plan at all times.
Within the campaign you should leave room to make changes as no plan can perfectly capture reality and there will be ad-hoc opportunities outside the parameters of the campaign that you will choose to maximise.
This could be anything from a trend on social that you want to jump on and gain traction from, or a media opportunity that will highlight you to a whole new audience. Keep an eye out for any situation that you could utilise to your advantage to ensure your PR campaign is a success.
And that’s it
A PR campaign can be as big or small as you want it to be – these were just some factors to take into consideration, but hopefully they will help you if you’re planning a solo PR mission.
If you think you might need a hand from the professionals, contact us here or give us a call on 0161 236 1122 to find out how we can help you.